When Joey arrived at the Mission, he was a high school dropout battling addiction. Today, he has his diploma and is pursuing a degree in aviation mechanics.
“I dropped out in the 7th grade,” said Joey. “Between moving and my reading disability, I got really far behind. I quit school and got a job when I realized I was going to fail.”
“At one point I was driving a truck with some friends bound for Texas when I nodded off at the wheel. I wasn’t drinking or high, but I was tired. The cop suspected drugs.” Ultimately, he was charged with DWI and criminal mischief. Unable to pay his bond, he spent the next 27 days in jail.
“Hurricane Katrina hit that weekend. My hometown was devastated. It killed me that I wasn’t there to help. Even after being released, I couldn’t go home, the state line was still closed. The mom of a guy I met in jail took me in. She clothed and fed me and allowed me to stay with them for over a month.”
Over the next five and a half years Joey worked as a diesel mechanic, got married, and for a while, things were good. But once he started down the road of addiction it cost him the best job he’d ever had and the love of his life.
“I self-destructed. A friend told me about Nashville Rescue Mission, but I wasn’t ready. Two years later I burned out and quit my job. Then one night I put my car in a ditch and was charged with DUI.”
“That’s when I decided to come to the Mission. I’m grateful the program included preparing me for the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam. The volunteers were amazing. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Two weeks before graduating from the Mission’s program, Joey passed the HSE test and recieved his diploma. According to Ivan Gray, Education Assistant for the Mission, “Joey had one of the highest scores of anyone who has ever taken the test while in the program.”
Over the next two years, Joey worked at the Mission, while dreaming about going to college. With the encouragement of his life coach and other staff members, he started taking steps to make his dream a reality. On May 1, 2019, Joey started classes at Tennessee College of Applied Technolgy in pursuit of a degree in aviation mechanics .